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The Day My Brother Took a Life and Changed Mine Forever

Issac Bailey | The Marshall Project | June 28, 2016 | 5,496 words

I grew up idolizing my brother. Then he killed a man.

Posted inFeatured, Nonfiction, Story

The Day My Brother Took a Life and Changed Mine Forever

I grew up idolizing my brother. Then he killed a man.
Illustration by Richard Allen

Issac Bailey | The Marshall Project | June 2016 | 22 minutes (5,496 words)

The Marshall ProjectThis story was co-published with The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system. Sign up for their newsletter, or follow The Marshall Project on Facebook or Twitter.

Drive the backroads of South Carolina to the small town of Ridgeville, and you’ll be greeted by a large, handmade sign reading “Your sins killed Jesus” amid the pine forests and small barns. I grew up traveling those roads but only recently noticed the sign, long after I had stopped caring about sin and consequence or what either of those things means.

Because on April 27, 1982, while I was asleep in a room with a couple of wooden bunk beds, blankets on the floor, and too many brothers, Herbert “Moochie” Bailey Jr. was killing a man named James Bunch a few miles away. Moochie was 22 years old at the time. I was only 9.

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